The Childcare Act 2006 lays down certain conditions under which people are disqualified from working with young children (see details below). Schools need to take measured action to ensure they comply as it has now been clarified by the DfE that schools do fall under this legislation.
Supplementary guidance from NAHT can be downloaded below.
Extent of legislation
The legislation applies to schools providing education and childcare for children aged up to the age of five
It applies to teaching or support staff living in the same household as a person who has been convicted of a crime of a violent or sexual nature, against an adult or a child, that member of staff is disqualified from providing education and childcare for children aged up to five and/or childcare for children aged up to eight – they are disqualified by association
It is possible to apply to Ofsted for a waiver of this disqualification but, while the application for waiver is being considered, the member of staff cannot provide education and/or childcare for up to five year-olds or childcare for up to eight year-olds
It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that employees are not disqualified by association
It is the responsibility of the employee to self-declare if they are living in the same household as a person convicted of a relevant crime
Should someone knowingly continue to work with or permit staff members who are disqualified by association, to work with children of the relevant ages, they are committing a criminal offence, punishable by up to six months in prison and/or the imposition of a fine.
The underpinning legislation has been in place for some time and so schools will need to check that all relevant staff currently employed are not living in a household with a person who has committed a crime, as outlined above. For any new appointments, questioning with regard to disqualification by association will need to form part of the recruitment process. The onus is on the individual to self-report and, should someone fail to declare that they are living in such a household, that person is committing an offence.
Schools will need to clarify with regard to the threshold described above whether a self-reported offence (committed by someone living in their home) qualifies, and whether disqualification by association applies to that employee or prospective employee.
NAHT anticipates that the department will revise their current guidance Keeping children safe in schools shortly.
NAHT's model staff suitability declaration form, available here
Disqualification requirements - supplementary advice
Page Published: 20/10/2014